Once upon a time just a month ago
in Florida on a warm winter’s day,
I was hanging out on the condo lanai,
minding the sunny business of the pool,
traffic at the marina, on the river,
and leisurely eyeballing placid tides.
Chillin’ is the pièce de résistance
of retirement. What, me work?
Apparently. For on such a languid day,
the great Headhunter from Hell
landed me a whopper job—
no right of refusal, no discussion, no pay.
In one fiendish phone call he decreed me:
Survivor, as in sole.
Heiress? Yes. Also priestess of the dead
and doer of grunt work. In Rochester.
In April. In cold, wet winds.
It is a cruel estate, my brother’s.
My job calls for space and supplies—
colored markers, color-coded file folders,
a spectrum of sticky notes up the wazoo
for sorting reams of musty hard-copy records,
mounds of paper in teetering piles.
This job, I find out,
also calls for gizmos—
and assorted peripheral necessities.
I just pray Satan doesn’t require spreadsheets.
What if He forces me to input
the voluminous data of Jimmy’s credit-card debt
to perform the calculus of grief?
Please don’t make me do Excel.
Please don’t make me weep
on the job.
© by Karla Linn Merrifield.
Used with the author’s permission.